Posted by: Jim | July 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Andrew


Andrew Wyeth is 90 years old today. You may remember his most famous work “Christina’s World.” He’s still alive and still painting.

Andrew is my favorite painter. I have no less than three of his dry brush works framed and hanging in my living room.

Above is an example from 1981 called “Late Fall.”

Andrew was painting photo-realistic works while his contemporaries–people like Jackson Pollack, were getting rich off the public hysteria over tripe like this.

You have outlasted them all, Andrew, just like your art will.

Keep it up, please!



  1. You mean you have three PRINTS hanging in your living room, my friend. Wouldn’t want any potential art-burglars targeting your place due to an online misunderstanding. 😉

    And while you certainly are free to dislike Jackson Pollack, your implication that abstract art is ‘tripe’ and that somehow representational art will ‘outlast’ it, as if it were some sort of contest, would be considered rather offensive by some of your friends who happen to be abstract artists — if we didn’t know you better and weren’t thus inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    * * *

  2. PRINTS! I meant PRINTS! ; )

    I don’t see the two genres of art in a contest, but Andrew Wyeth was poo-pooed during his peak because he wasn’t going along with all the abstract expressionism ballyhoo. And sorry … every now and then I see an abstract expressionistic painting that gives me a mildly pleasant feeling, but that’s about as good as it ever gets for me. And maybe that’s all abstract expressionism is supposed to accomplish. But never has an abstract expressionistic painting stirred my viscera like Wyeth’s work, or Turner’s work, or any of hundreds of representational artists whose work I’ve seen.

    Art should be a way of communicating something meaningful. Maybe that *can* be done with abstract expressionism, if the viewer has a degree in art theory maybe, but it has never worked for me. I coul be wrong, but I think most of the people who claim to be really moved by abstract expressionism are not being sincere.

    Artists like abstract expressionism for a myriad of reasons. I think the process is probably more fun than when you have to paint something representationally, and maybe the process is even emotionally intense. But viewing it … not so.

    For me.

  3. Bri’s abstract paintings stir my viscera. 🙂

    Wow. 90 yrs old. Happy Birthday Andrew.
    I like the ‘Late Fall’ piece here, and yes, it’s more visually pleasing than the Pollack work, in my opinion.
    Art should just ‘communicate’ period. ‘Meaningful’ is, subjective I think. Representational art can have more profound meaning because it shows is what is familiar to us.
    Abstract art on the otherhand breaks away from traditional representation of physical objects and explores the relationships of forms and colors, it doesn’t represent the world in recognizable images. So it evokes sentiment and wonder at the complexity or subtlety of the piece, and/or is visually aesthetic.
    I am moved by representational art, and fascinated by abstract expressionism. Of course both types have their ‘tripe’ pieces too…

  4. Is it not enough you insult the man, but you have to spell his name wrong, too? Jackson Pollock.

    Never much liked Pollock, but I do like non-representational art such as Rothko, Mondriaan, Duchamp, and some of Kandinsky’s work. Sometimes it is good to be able to look at forms and colours without the distraction of representation.

    But there is room for everybody, although I take Jim’s point, it is always annoying when your heroes get crowded out for, um, not following the crowd.

    Art-wise, the biggest shock of my life was seeing a Rembrandt self-portrait in Edinburgh –

    I had no idea they had it there, and the quality, and the simple shock of seeing the original after seeing the reprinted image…

  5. To each his own, as the saying goes Jim, and Suzanne we know your biased, lol.

  6. Gosh Jane, I guess you’re biased too, given your professed appreciation for my work. Well, I just thank the Baby Jesus for all the biased people out there who tell me they like my ‘tripe’, and especially the biased folks who BUY it. What would I do without BIAS?

    Thank goodness I’ve got the Jedi Mind Control JuJu down; otherwise I’d have to develop some artistic talent.

    * * *

  7. bri i do love your work as you well know, and Jackson Pollock as well… i can lose myself for hours in yours and his, but that just happens to be my taste. i understand that what works for some doesn’t for others; and thank heaven because otherwise the art world would be as interesting as watching grass grow, lol!

  8. “Art should be a way of communicating something meaningful.”
    Why is it necessary for aesthetic bias to dictate the parameters of art?

    “I could be wrong, but I think most of the people who claim to be really moved by abstract expressionism are not being sincere.”
    Aesthetic bias is be the foundation of art appreciation, at least as it pertains to consumption–why must that bias impugn the motives of others who don’t share it?

  9. “is be” sorry for the typo

  10. I know I’m late to the party on this one, but, for me, it all depends on the work. My preference is neo- and post-impressionistic (love Seurat, Matisse and Van Gogh), but there are pieces of all sorts that move me. I find I can be equally moved by the colors and lines of an abstract painting as I can by “Christina’s World” (of which my ex used to have a print that hung in our living room – that painting has always saddened me).

    Sometimes there will also be an artist whom I’m not fond of, but who will produce pieces that speak to me. Most of Picasso’s work leaves me cold, but “Guernica” stabs me in the heart and I love his line drawings.

    Pollock, however? Love the movie, don’t like the paintings.

  11. I’m with you Carol! One of the best art exhibits I ever saw was a fauvism exhibit at LACMA. We’re headed up to the Norton Simon soon to check out Van Gogh’s work up there.

    Yes, Christina’s World is downright depressing, unlike a lot of Wyeth’s work.

    Of course everyone who says “it’s in the eye of the beholder” are absolutely right. If someone truly loves a Pollock because they love it and not because someone told them they should love it, then bully for them, and I’m an ass for calling them insincere. Still, with regard to abstract expressionism, I’ve been saying the emperor has not clothes all of my adult life. I also add the caveat of “maybe I’m wrong,” because … maybe I am.

  12. One more small point, if I may Jim: you used the word photo-realistic. Wyeth’s work doesn’t belong to photo-realism, but to realism.

  13. And I don’t mean to be pedantic–I think the distinction is important, as it informs the discussion re abstraction.

  14. The Curmudgeon is correct.

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